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Lackawanna College’s football team will make history this week as the first local team to play for a collegiate football national championship. As a college community, we could not be prouder of the young men who worked extremely hard all season or of the football program that shaped them.

Let’s face it. Sometimes the stereotypes about college athletes – football players in particular – are not kind. The notion of a star player being pushed through an educational system on his athletic, rather than academic merit, have long been established nationwide.

Not at Lackawanna College.

Our football players are part of our FALC program – short for Football Academic Learning Community. We hold our football players to high academic and behavioral standards and make it clear from the summer before a student’s enrollment that football participation is a privilege earned after academic and behavioral expectations. When a student chooses to play football at Lackawanna College, he signs a contract agreeing to put academics first and demonstrate professional conduct on and off the field. Competing football programs make few similar demands, and at first, some of us worried that students wouldn’t choose a program so strict, structured, and tough. We worried that our policies and requirements might deny us winning seasons. We were wrong.

Our football players have shown us that they will rise to expectations. They WANT to work hard, practice hard, study hard, and compete hard. They CHOOSE to attend a program invested in them as young men, not as disposable players here for a season or two. Parents and students choose Lackawanna College and entrust us to shape responsible, thoughtful, hard-working, motivated men. That process involves grueling early morning workouts, full days of classes, mandatory study halls, practices, and evening to late night meetings. It involves a mentor who identifies each student’s academic, social, and emotional strengths and weaknesses and becomes the team’s de facto “dad.”  It relies on a no-excuses coaching staff who genuinely cares whether a student athlete attends and positively participates in classes.

For the past seven years, we have seen our FALC program produce quality graduates, a more than respectable team GPA, transfer students to starting positions at Division I schools, send graduates to the NFL, and help hundreds of young men become better versions of themselves. This year, we reach the crown jewel of success and could not be prouder to compete on a national stage. We’ll compete knowing that, win or lose, our young men are ready for the next step of their athletic and educational journeys.

Kudos to you, Lackawanna College football team, for working so hard.

Thanks to you, FALC faculty, for molding young minds.

Hats off to the football program for setting high expectations and pushing students to meet them.

Let’s bring home a national championship! Hope Starts Here.

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